Back in September, we launched a mission to find the next big artistic talent in the UK - inviting artists, creators and designers to upload a photo of their unique work to Instagram for the chance to have it immortalised in iconic Liberty Fabric. Having whittled down a shortlist from over 5000 incredible entries, our buyers enlisted your help to select four exceptional winners - who are now developing their works alongside the Liberty London design team. Step inside the studio and see them in action…
Connected to our flagship building by a wooden bridge, the in-house Liberty London studio is occupied by 15 highly-skilled creatives, who conceptualise, re-work and hand-draw prints that translate into our seasonal fabrics and collections. As part of their prize, this year's #LibertyOpenCall winners visited the studio, to develop their artworks alongside the team.
"The day began with giving the artists an insight into our world and the business of fabrics. Then our focus turned back to them with a session in the design studio. We unveiled the development ideas and spent time making decisions together about the work. Each winner was given a dedicated designer and our design manager Polly Mason lead the artwork and technical session. Together we selected a co-ordinating design created from the original artwork, something to complement and give a different look."
"I entered #LibertyOpenCall with the attitude that winning would be like winning the lottery. Visiting the studio was the most exciting day. To see some of the amazing artworks in the archives and behind the scenes of such an iconic brand was just incredible. I realised that I need to surround myself constantly with everything I find visually pleasing! This was what the day was like for me - everywhere I turned I saw something beautiful and I felt totally inspired. I absolutely cannot wait to see my designs being printed. What an opportunity - I still can't believe I'm part of it. It will truly sink in when I see my design on the famous Liberty Tana Lawn!"
"I enjoyed visiting the Liberty London design studio immensely. It was very interesting to learn and be shown new and historical Liberty fabric designs and exciting to think that our winning designs will be beside them. I felt totally inspired and excited about the prospect of using my paintings in a different way than I had intended. After spending time in the Liberty design studio, I learned how multiple designs can predominantly be based on one original idea. I felt like a switch I didn't know existed had been turned on in my head. I'm also looking forward to seeing the technical process that leads up to making the fabric, seeing it woven before it is printed - I'm sure the first view of seeing it printed will be emotional. "
"I was really surprised and excited when my design was selected as a winner of #LibertyOpenCall. Spending a day in the Liberty London Design Studio and meeting and working with the team was both enlightening and enjoyable. The experience helped me understand a whole lot more about Liberty as a brand and the skills, ethos and design tradition that lies behind it. I feel more inspired about fabric design as a result of this visit and I am certain that it will influence my design work going forwards. I am really looking forward to the visit to the fabric mill in Italy and watching as my design (and the other winners') appearing from the press as a fully-fledged Liberty fabric."
"The studio day was a whirlwind and I wish I could have slowed time. It was fascinating to learn about their process and the business side of fashion textile design. So many prints are created each year, and the walls of the studio are covered in mood boards and concept work. It's a wonderful visual feast. Apart from a greater appreciation of the time and strategy that goes into every piece - I am very intrigued about Liberty's custom design offering. To adapt and diversify whilst maintaining a recognisable style seems key to great success. I am most intrigued to see the scale of the machines and my design working through. I can't wait to get my winning five metres - although I haven't decided what I will make with it yet. Potentially an outrageous jacket."
The next stage of the journey will see the winners travel to our specialist mill in Italy, to watch their fabrics being printed. "Our Lead Bespoke Designer, Adam Herbert will follow their journey through to the next chapter when he takes them to our printing mill in Italy, near Lake Como, Mary-Ann reveals. "They will then curate the final edit to be presented to our Fabrics buyer and international sales team to see which variations make up the final Open Call Fabrics collection."